Back to Main Page

<< Back           articles : hathor goddess of love music beauty



Hathor, Goddess of Love, Music, Beauty

[1] [2] NEXT>>

Hathor (Ht-hr - House of Horus [the Elder])

She was a goddess of many things, among them she was a:

· Celestial goddess: The Mistress of Heaven

· Goddess of love, music and beauty: the Goddess of Love, Cheerfulness, Music, and Dance,

· Goddess of women, firtility, children and childbirth: The Mother of Mothers, the Celestial Nurse,

· Goddess of destruction and drunkeness: The Vengeful Eye of Ra, the Lady of Drunkeness,

· Goddess of the dead: Lady of the West

She was also known as the Mistress of Life, the Great Wild Cow, the Golden One, the Mistress of Turquoise, Lady of Dendera (her cult centre was located at Dendera), Mistress of Qis, Lady to the Limit (of the Universe), Lady of Punt (perhaps an area in present day Somalia), the Powerful One, the Mistress of the Desert, Lady of the Southern Sycamore... and many other names, besides.

The reason that she has so many names, one would assume, is because she is an ancient goddess - she seems to have been mentioned as early as the 2nd Dynasty. She may even have been associated with the Narmer palette - although the two human faced bovines may also have been a representation of the king.

It is interesting to note, though, that there is not a personal name of the goddess mentioned in the list - they are all titles.

Another interesting thing about Hathor is found in one particular Egyptian tale - when the hero of the story was born, the 'Seven Hathors', disguised as seven young women, appeared and announced his fate. They seemed to be linked with not only fortune telling, but to being questioners of the soul on its way to the Land of the West. These goddesses were worshiped in seven cities:





Thebes, Heliopolis, Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They are linked to the Pleiades.

Generally, Hathor is pictured as a woman with cow's horns with the sun between them (Eye of Ra, Golden One), or as a beautiful woman with cow's ears, or a cow wearing the sun disk between her horns, or even as a lioness or a lion-headed woman (destruction and drunkeness). She often is seen carrying a sistrum, an ancient musical instrument (hence a goddess of music). The sycamore was sacred to her (Lady of the Southern Sycamore). She is said to be the mother of the pharaoh, and is often depicted in a nurturing role, suckling the pharaoh when he was a child (hence a goddess of motherhood).

The Eye of Ra

One of the tales of Hathor was how she was originally a goddess of destruction (Hathor-Sekhmet), and how she came to be the goddess of happier things:

Then Ra took on the shape of a man and became the first Pharaoh, ruling over the whole country for thousands and thousands of years, and giving such harvests that for ever afterwards the Egyptians spoke of the good things "which happened in the time of Ra".

But, being in the form of a man, Ra grew old. In time men no longer feared him or obeyed his laws. They laughed at him, saying: "Look at Ra! His bones are like silver, his flesh like gold, his hair is the colour of lapis lazuli!"

Ra was angry when he heard this, and he was more angry still at the evil deeds which men were doing in disobedience to his laws. So he called together the gods whom he had made - Shu and Tefnut and Geb and Nut - and he also summoned Nun. Soon the gods gathered about Ra in his Secret Place, and the goddesses also. But mankind knew nothing of what was happening, and continued to jeer at Ra and to break his commandments. Then Ra spoke to Nun before the assembled gods: "Eldest of the gods, you who made me; and you gods whom I have made: look upon mankind who came into being at a glance of my Eye. See how men plot against me; hear what they say of me; tell me what I should do to them. For I will not destroy mankind until I have heard what you advise."

Then Nun said: "My son Ra, the god greater than he who made him and mightier than those whom he has created, turn your mighty Eye upon them and send destruction upon them in the form of your daughter, the goddess Sekhmet."

Ra answered: "Even now fear is falling upon them and they are fleeing into the desert and hiding themselves in the mountains in terror at the sound of my voice."

"Send against them the glance of your Eye in the form Sekhmet!" cried all the other gods and goddesses, bowing before Ra until their foreheads touched the ground.

[1] [2] NEXT>>


By Caroline Seawright

Interesting Articles Main Hathor Goddess of Love, Music, Beauty